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Necas' 4-point game leads Czechia past Sweden in semis

Eurasia Sport Images / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Host Czechia is heading to the gold-medal game of the World Championship for the first time since 2010 after defeating Sweden 7-3 in Saturday's semifinal.

Martin Necas was dominant for the Czechs, tallying the game-winner and three assists in the contest. Dominik Kubalik and Lukas Sedlak also put forth strong performances, notching two goals apiece, in front of a raucous crowd in Prague.

Sweden held 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but Czechia scored four straight goals to secure the victory.

Marcus Johansson opened the scoring for Sweden 3:39 into the game when he drove the middle of the ice and fired one past Lukas Dostal's glove. Czechia evened things out when Kubalik pounced on a juicy rebound by Filip Gustavsson 7:48 into the first period. However, Marcus Pettersson responded immediately, regaining the lead for the Swedes 20 seconds later.

It was all Czechia the rest of the way, though. David Kampf continued the eventful period by tying things up for the Czechs with a heavy shot from the slot off a slick centering feed by Necas. It marked the contest's fourth goal before the midway mark of the first period.

Ondrej Kase - hopeful of an NHL return - put Czechia ahead in the second frame with some deft patience in front of the net after the puck ricocheted off an official. It was the first time Sweden had trailed the entire tournament.

Necas doubled the lead for the hosts with a one-time blast right off a faceoff that completely froze everyone in yellow and blue. Kubalik added another with a five-hole blast on a three-on-two rush, chasing Gustavsson from the game in favor of Samuel Ersson. Gustavsson finished the contest having allowed five goals on 17 shots.

Joel Eriksson Ek got one back for the Swedes on the power play late in the second, but it wasn't enough. Sedlak scored a pair of nearly identical breakaway goals with a backhand five-hole move in the third period to seal the deal for Czechia.

The host country will face Switzerland in the final.

The semifinal victory guarantees Czechia its best tournament finish since winning gold in 2010. It last medaled when it won bronze in 2022.

Sweden, who was a perfect 7-0-0-0 in the preliminary round before defeating Finland in OT in the quarters, had only allowed 10 total goals in the tournament entering Saturday. It will play for bronze on Sunday in search of its first medal since winning back-to-back golds in 2017 and 2018.

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